Buying your first home is meant to be exciting, fun and satisfying. After working hard to save a deposit, all you’ve gotta do is find your dream home on RightMove, fill a Pinterest board with home decor you love, and put in an offer, right?! Wrong.
Unfortunately, buying a house is stressful AF and the process is usually far more longwinded than people on Instagram let on. If you’re hoping to start the house buying process in the next few months or you’ve already started looking at properties, read on to find out how to make things easier.
Why is buying a house so stressful?
Moneybox spoke to 1,500 home-buyers across the UK to find out why buying a house is one of the most stressful life events. They came up with this list of 50 most stressful aspects of the home buying process.
- Admin, paperwork, phone calls and emails
- Chasing solicitors and worrying why they haven’t replied
- Finding a property you like and can afford (it’s often one or the other)
- Selling your house? You might have this overwhelming fear that the sale might fall through, making it harder (or impossible) to buy your new place
- A lack of control. Once you’ve put an offer in, the rest of the home buying process is kinda out of your hands. You’re depending on solicitors, banks, surveyors and other buyers/sellers to keep things moving
- Waiting for the results of surveys. No one wants to drop money on a survey only for the results to highlight expensive issues with the property
- Having to deal with solicitors… at all. Ask for recommendations before choosing the solicitor for you, so at least you can choose one who’s down-to-earth and eager to make the process as easy as possible
- Waiting on a move-in date. We want to move in NOW!
- Staying on top of work while trying to buy a house. If you can’t work from home, it’s just a matter of time before your boss catches you on Zoopla or questions why you leave the room every time you get a call
- Chain issues. A problem further up the chain could cause problems for you!
- The sellers dragging their feet or being slow in general
- Waiting for your offer to be accepted. Will they accept? Will they say yes to a cash buyer instead? Will we be house hunting forever?
- Paying for fees and other costs.
- The fear of being gazumped or beaten to a house you really want
- Packing (I personally think unpacking is the fun part)
- Completing all of the documents correctly and quickly to avoid causing any delays
- Getting the mortgage application approved
- Worrying about covering unexpected costs along the way
- Unanticipated extortionate fees throughout the process
- Having to deal with estate agents
- Feelings of overwhelm. There’s a lot to learn!
- Organising services e.g. getting broadband set up in a new build
- Worrying that you are making a mistake/buying the wrong property
- Chasing estate agents and solicitors when you have other things to do
- Posting important documents and hoping it won’t get lost in the post
- Pressure from the buyer/seller to complete by a certain date
- Last minute changes to the moving day
- Not understanding home buying jargon throughout the process
- Sending the money to your solicitor and watching your savings disappear from your bank account in an instant
- Having to go through the process/fill in the documents with another person, such as your partner. Sometimes this can be more stressful than sorting it out yourself
- Having to deal with mortgage brokers who use complicated jargon or aren’t available when you need them. Thankfully, there are plenty of flexible and understanding mortgage brokers out there who talk like real people.
- Worrying that you’re pestering mortgage brokers, estate agents and solicitors by contacting them for updates
- Saving the deposit. Just when you think you have enough, house prices can increase!
- Working out when to start packing
- Getting pressure from estate agents to exchange or complete by a certain date
- Having to clean your old home. It might be worth hiring professional cleaners if you can afford them.
- Getting the right insurance. You don’t want too much or too little!
- Last minute checks showing up an issue when you’re just about to exchange
- Worrying that once you’ve exchanged contracts, you’ll find problems with your new home
- Negotiating with the sellers after the survey throws up something. (It can be worth asking them to knock a chunk off the asking price so you can cover the cost yourself)
- Organising viewings.
- The valuation coming back lower than initially expected
- The crippling fear that the mortgage offer might expire. (It happened to me! I had to apply for a new mortgage so the sale didn’t fall through.)
- Finding time to view properties. (What do you mean you’ll only allow viewers during office hours?!)
- Improving credit score before submitting a mortgage application
- Trying to get a mortgage application through before interest rates rise
- Booking surveys
- Pressure from estate agents to use their preferred mortgage brokers. (Estate agents aren’t allowed to do this, by the way).
- Reading things online and not knowing if it is trustworthy or true
- Worrying about when the first mortgage payment will come out, and how much it will be
How can I avoid stress when buying a house?
Although buying a house can be one of the most stressful life events that we humans experience, there are ways to reduce the pressure and make our lives easier. Here are a few suggestions.
Use a mortgage broker.
I used a mortgage broker when buying my flat and I’ll use one when I come to buy a house too. A good mortgage broker will guide you through the home buying process from the moment you submit a mortgage application to the day you get your keys. They’ll help you find the lenders most likely to approve your application so your chances of getting rejected are drastically reduced. If you’re self-employed, have a less than perfect credit rating or you have a small deposit, your mortgage broker will know which lenders to avoid.
Accept that a lot of things are out of your control.
You can’t control solicitors, estate agents, or other buyers and sellers. All you can do is keep your end of the bargain and hope other people do the same. Try to keep yourself busy while waiting for other people to get their act together. It’ll all fall into place eventually.
Be financially prepared for unexpected costs.
One of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make when buying a house is how much to put towards the house deposit versus how much to keep aside for unexpected costs. On the one hand, putting as big a deposit down as possible can make your mortgage more affordable and save you money on interest. On the other hand, you probably don’t want to put down such a big deposit that you don’t have any money left over for solicitor fees, surveys, etc.
Organise your key documents as soon as possible.
When applying for your mortgage, you’ll probably need bank statements, payslips, proof of your deposit and other key documents. Get these organised as soon as possible so that whenever a lender, broker, solicitor or other expert wants a copy, you have everything you need to hand.
Don’t be scared to ask questions.
It’s normal to feel as though you’re pestering your mortgage broker, estate agent, solicitor and other people involved in the house buying process, but you’re only asking them to do their job.
Avoid home buying horror stories.
When you’re buying a house, it’s easy to fall down a Google, YouTube or Instagram rabbit hole, where you end up consuming one home buying horror story after another. Buying a house is stressful, we’re not gonna lie, but chances are you’ll get your keys and pop open that bottle of bubbly eventually.
Is it normal to feel depressed after buying a house?
Some people experience buyers remorse after buying a house.
They might regret spending so much money on it or wish they’d bought a different house in another area.
But it’s possible to feel depressed after buying a house even if you don’t regret the purpose. You might be glad you bought your new home while also experiencing feelings of disappointment. You might feel kinda numb!
When I bought my flat in 2017, I felt really down at first. In the three years that I’d spent saving a deposit, I’d turned down lots of holidays and social events so I could save enough money to buy a place by myself. I thought to myself “well, when I finally move in I’ll be happy and it’ll be worth the sacrifice.”
Imagine how weird it felt to pick up the keys for my new place and not feel instant happiness and gratification. I’d spent years working towards this big thing only to feel extremely disappointed and underwhelmed. I also battled imposter syndrome-like feelings. I believed I was undeserving of my new flat when so many other people worked much harder than me and couldn’t afford one.